What a true adventure

Ah, I miss it.

100 years ago, two men, Amundsen and Scott, were determined to be the first to reach the South Pole by only one possible means of transportation; on skis. Antarctica, such an alien and hostile world, is where the wind, sun and ice are dominant in the 5 million square mile continent.

I enjoyed every aspect of it. The frigid cold, the brutal wind, the powerful hidden UV rays, the vast nothingness and the company of my father and brother. The success to completing any adventure is through determination and patience. While I had both, it was a reminder to how I managed on my first expedition, Kilimanjaro, when watching my father and Haytham cope with their new environment and adapt one day at a time.

Although I anticipated a higher challenge, it was most surely out of my comfort zone and required hard work in earning respect from the Antarctic extremities. There is no margin for error. The cold can freeze you, the sun can burn you, the wind can bite you and the monotony can wear you down. On the last day, I thought Antarctica had accepted me because of the generous treatment it gave me but not so; on the final stretch, it slapped me with a fierce wind bite on my cheek leaving a scar, hopefully not permanently – a sure reminder to be on alert at all times.

The long grueling hours of skiing took a toll on the body but alas it was what was needed to achieve the goal of reaching the South Pole and my determination kept me in good spirits. The hourly breaks were no joy. Emptying the bladder, hydrating and eating were mandatory at each stop and were an energy draining mission. Each day was an achievement that strengthened our resolve.

The sight of the South Pole, first spotted from 15 kilometers out, gave us a false perception of heaven. It was a large fortress, the Amundsen-Scott station, neatly hidden and tucked in the dense clouds, a rare sighting after 10 days of nothing but the wind, sun and ice. It was adrenaline jolting.

Yes, after arriving at the southern most point on Earth at the day’s end, I felt a tremendous reward and the paying off of the planning, training, self-discipline and tedious treks but neither compared to the feeling rushing through me at the appearance of my father and Haytham collapsing into each other’s arms with joy pouring out of them. Before joining, I snatched the opportunity for a minute to observe and capture a few pictures. This is the one minute that will be embedded in my memory for the rest of my life – the turning point of the expedition. It was emotionally magnificent.

Standing on Antarctica, the last great pristine and protected place on Earth, is a privilege!

The wind, sun and ice. Ah, I miss it.


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9 Responses to What a true adventure

  1. Ghalib Alireza says:

    My Brother Mohammed, Haythem, and The Amo Shiekh,

    Another brilliant achievement Mo, you have turly insprired me to one day Inshallah join you on one of these truly great expereinces. I am so proud of you.

    I have been keeping up with the updates and although I was in the comfort of my living room, with the AC on blast (as usual) as I sat there reading and looking at photos, I felt a chill come over me every single time, but also a sense of urgency for you all to reach your goal.

    I felt connected to all of you as you I followed your journey and a sense of relief of tension when you all made it back safely Hamdu’Allah. I cant stress the fact that you all have accomplished a turly great feat that will forever be imprinted in memory. Well done Guys, a truly fantastic, and inspiring story.

  2. fahed idriss says:

    3am Waleed, Haytham and Mo,

    Congratulations! It’s been inspiring following your journey. Reading how testing the last 2 weeks were i can only imagine the excitement and adrenaline you felt when you reached your goal. 3am Waleed, Happy 60th!

    Mo, you just had to throw in the “Although I anticipated a higher challenge” comment didn’t you hahaha, very proud of you habibi. looking forward to seeing you all back home. fahed

  3. Khalid & Ghada says:

    Mohamad, Father & Son,

    Eureka, we are not so much delighted that you made it to the South Pole ,but the fact that you made it back to civilisation. We are positive that our prayers and worries had something to do with gravitatating you back to Chilli…… from chilling country to Chilli the country. But as far as Khalid is concerned it’s copper country. We’re pretty positive that once the Market knew that the Zahids are in town ( Chilli) the price of copper soared to an all time high. Enjoy the rest of your trip. We look forward to hearing all the worded details.

    Haytham & Son in Law, it was quite impressive to read your lively comments on this ardious journey, we weren’t aware of this hidden talent.When are you guys going to
    start writing a book about your adventure? As for you Cousin Waleed, we have great admiration for your stamina and deremination to take such a challenging trip at your young age. Happy belated Birthday once again.

    Khalid & Ghada

  4. Sam Harb says:

    The rawness of nature is sometimes a reflection of our own souls — the better among us spend a lifetime acknowledging, reckoning with, and tempering both. The wild and untamed is sometimes better left that way. Your success in this journey seems not to come from conquering either but, rather, the adventure with each.

    Congratulations to all.


  5. Noura T says:

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I went to kindergarten AND college with the man behind these words and these adventures. A total honor to be in the shadows of such greatness.

    Allah ytammimlakum bkhair

    Noura T

  6. amore says:

    My love,

    Alas I hear your voice and now can breathe easier. Such a privilege!

    While you were ONLY at the South Pole trekking, my heart was at the Core of the Earth, praying to Allah to bring you back to us safely and eagerly anticipating hearing about your wonderful journey through the vast outdoors. I know you were at your peek. So proud of you and didn’t doubt for a second that you’d make it down there.

    You have a son whom has definitely obtained your genes in the adventure department. Every night before Dean sleeps we sit in our rocking chair and we look out at his boat and he tells me how he wants to take you with him to different places. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. And when I ask him where Baba is, he says with an Arabic accent “Anticatica”. Let’s not forget our little gentleman, Rida. He always smiles at the mention of your name. He’s grown so much that I don’t think you’ll recognize him. Please come back quick so we can hug you! I need your smile 

    For future reference, our next investment, a Satellite phone PLEASE! I know I can’t stop you from the next 5 mountains and the adventures in between. God help me!
    Love you and miss you!!

    Mon Uncle,
    It was lovely to hear your voice the day you reached the Pole. Thank you for thinking of me. I now feel like a little of me was left down there too…. Without the agony that you guys went through no doubt. Mohamed sure did marry a smart cookie, Ha Ha Ha.

    Deano was asking about you too. We went over to visit Amma the other day and he was wondering why your car wasn’t in the “Garrashhh”  I told him that Sidi Willis is with Baba and Toomi in “Anticatica” too.

    Masarini Ti3bat!! I know I was only sitting here on my sofa reading your dispatches, but your magnificent writing and imagery of your journey kept me oohing and aahing at every step you guys were making. I’m really glad you get to keep your finger, otherwise typing up your novel might be a little difficult.

    I always knew you were adventurous but I didn’t know you were THIS adventurous. Thanks for taking care of our men. Please make sure Mohamed nurses that bite. He tends to conveniently forget when he knows scaring is involved.

    I was thrilled when Mohamed told me you were going on the expedition with them. One more trip to add to your resume of adventures. You too should write a book.

    The man that made it all happen…. Please don’t make it happen again…. Just kidding!!  You truly organize wonderful trips. Looking at the photos it ALMOST makes things look bearable. I can’t wait to meet you soon so you can tell me everything that Mohamed hasn’t told me about all your adventures together.

    Gentlemen, 1000 Congratulations on your amazing success. We can’t wait to see you! Come home safely. May Allah be with you always.

    Amore 

  7. Ihab Ghannam says:

    Dear Sheikh Waleed, Haytham and Mohammed,

    Mabrook and well done! You make us all proud of you for this incredible achievement and the great journey you all embarked on. Such great expedition should be documented on the Discovery Channel!

    Wishing you a safe journey back home.

    Very Truly yours,

    Ihab Ghannam

  8. Karim El Solh says:

    Dear Waleed, Mohamad and Haytham,
    We are so proud of your fantastic achievement and memorable journey. This is a very inspiring feat that shows your courage and determination at conquering the great unknown.

    Waleed, your quest for adventure with your eldest sons is inspiring and a good model for the modern father. Now I am planning to take my three boys on an adventure quest, although it may not be antartica (perhaps the Masai Mara for a start…). I look forward to sitting with you for a full debrief – I am sure you will regal us with all of your stories. We may need a separate board meeting just for the debrief!

    Wishing you a safe journey home.


  9. akhashoggi75 says:

    Dear Mohamed,

    The ability to write so well must run deep in the genes of Waleed Zahid. Masha’Allah you and Haytham have given us strong images of the harsh environment of Antarctica and the grueling combat to overcome it, as well as the exhilarating and emotional achievement of reaching your target. The bonding that resulted between you, your father and your brother is immense and all I can say is “Allah Yekhaleekum Leba3adh”.

    All of us over here eagerly await your return and we pray for fair weather and safety.

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